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Grave depths hit rock bottom

Lismore Memorial Gardens co-ordinator Kris Whitney wants to remind people that double depth graves are still permitted. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star
Lismore Memorial Gardens co-ordinator Kris Whitney wants to remind people that double depth graves are still permitted. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star Marc Stapelberg

FOLLOWING confusion surrounding the digging of double-depth graves at Bexhill , Lismore City Council has cleared up the qualms.

The Northern Star received a call from a woman who said that she had heard that Bexhill Cemetery were not digging anymore double-depth graves, and was worried she wouldn't get the double-depth graves that her brother and herself had booked 19 years ago.

Manager of corporate services at Lismore City Council, Simon Adcock, has assured them that is not necessarily the case.

Bexhill Cemetery is still taking orders for double-depth graves, but they can't guarantee the grave will be dug deep enough to accommodate the double grave.

"It would be a question of whether we could dig that far down," he said.

If there is bedrock down there, he said, that causes problems and they can't dig any further past it.

Because Bexhill Cemetery is on a sandstone hill, he said, the digging can be "sometimes problematic."

Co-ordinator of Lismore Memorial Gardens, Kris Whitney, deals with all the local cemeteries and agreed with Mr Adcock.

"It's hard to get a double-depth grave on a hill made of sandstone."

"Whatever cemetery you're at, you can't guarantee a double-depth grave - you never know what problems you might run in to," Mr Whitney said.

"It can be done, but it becomes a huge cost burden to the family," he said.

Mr Adcock said that while "It's difficult to know exactly what we said 20 years ago," as far as they can remember, they always explained this situation when people were booking double-depth sites.

"We couldn't guarantee that we could dig that deep," Mr Adcock said.

"But we would still dig that hole, and if we couldn't dig that deep, we would offer a different site or offer graves side by side."

Mr Adcock said that they didn't want anyone hurt by confusion about the situation.

"We always will attempt to dig the double depth as requested by the family."

"When we're asked to dig a hole, we dig as far as we can."

"We will try to dig that deep (but) we don't know exactly where the bedrock is."

Anyone with any queries or questions can call Lismore Council on 1300 87 83 87

Deaths in Australia

  • Just over 141,500 Australians die each year.
  • On average, 65% of the dead were cremated in Australia in 2008.
  • The standardised death rate in Australia has dropped over the last 20 years.

Facts: Australian Bureau of Statistic and Cremation Society of Great Britain.

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